For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. Jeremiah 29:11 – NRSV
I never had a husband list. I was never really sure I wanted to be married and I’ve always known I don’t want children. One of my mother’s friends has a signed statement from Laura-aged-10 stating that I’ll never have kids. She said she’d wave it in front of me the first time I waddled my 8-months-pregnant self past her but she’s never had the pleasure. I’ve had a couple of episodes of ‘baby rabies’ and I’m trying to learn to love babies and children because God does but I want to be blessed with one of my own the same way I want to be blessed with an opportunity to suffer for Christ. They’re both blessings from God but I’ll be at the back of the queue when he’s handing them out. Bless me with something else, please, God, I’ll say. And God is good – no children and only the same amount of suffering as everyone else gets.
Husbands are a different matter. I’ve never had one of those and I did, desperately, want one. I’ve had boyfriends and friends who were boys. I’ve been engaged (I was sixteen and it’s a long story) and I’ve had one other proposal (I turned it down and don’t regret it).
When I started taking my faith seriously I read a lot of books and a read a lot of blogs. And it looked like God’s intention was for women to marry. So I labelled myself a ‘wife in training’ and tried to become the Proverbs 31 woman. Every man I met was a potential husband.
And then my faith developed and I realised I belonged in the Catholic Church. So, if God was going to bless me with a husband, he’d expect me to be open to babies. In fact, for a Catholic, a marriage isn’t ‘valid’ if one of the partners enters it with the intention of remaining childless (just to be clear, if they’re open to having children but none come then that’s fine). So it seemed I had a problem. And I did a lot of reading and thinking and praying.
I thought God would change me so I’d want children and I’d then convert, marry a nice, Catholic bloke and pop out a couple of babies before hitting the menopause. I had it all planned out. But that’s not what happened.
I started noticing the good things about being single. And the less good things about being married. And I started thinking that, really, I liked my life fine the way it is. I like being single. There – I’d finally said it. I don’t really want to be married. So God did change me but not in the way I expected.
I like being single. And I love being Catholic. And now I know why the relationships of my youth failed. I’m not made to be married. And I’m looking forward to the next adventure God has planned for me.